“Why is my lovely dog so aggressive
Your dog is a brilliant family dog at home - good company, fun, a perfect peach with the children - but when you're out, the horns grow! Anything that moves is likely to provoke ferocious barking, and if that thing is coming towards you - you’re in trouble!
He's a "House Angel, Street Devil".
"Why is my dog aggressive?" you ask in desperation, wondering if it’s something you’ve done wrong. “Why does my dog bark and lunge at other dogs?”
People give you dirty looks, and you can understand why. You're ashamed of the way your dog carries on in public - barking aggressively at any dog he sees, maybe barking at people, bikes, joggers, cars, pushchairs ... plastic sacks ... you name it, he'll bark at it.
And it's not just the barking …
He looks so vicious! He scrabbles at the ground and he acts like he'd tear his victim limb from limb if the lead you're struggling to hold on to were to slip from your hand.
What if he pulls you over with his diving, bucking and lunging? And while you’re flat on the floor, you wonder why nothing you’ve tried is working.
You may be surprised to learn that this is an increasingly common problem: you are not alone!
But you don’t have to be one of those stressed, frustrated owners any more.
Help is at hand!
You may have been given all sorts of wild and wacky advice to change this problem behaviour, some of it incomprehensible, and some which you wouldn't want to inflict on your worst enemy. This is a much-loved member of your family! Doing anything nasty to him is out of the question.
If there’s no way you’d stick sharp spikes into your children’s necks, or give your toddler an electric shock for making a mistake, why would anyone think you could do that to your pet dog?
But you really would like to be able to go on a family outing without a rumpus starting as soon as anyone or any-dog hoves into view.
If that sounds good to you, you’ve come to the right place!
First I have to tell you something: nowhere here will you find any suggestion of doing nasty things to your dog. There will be no shouting or yanking the lead, no rattling, squirting or throwing things. You’ll learn how to change your dog’s aggressive behaviour by helping him to change his worldview. And without the need for anyone to “show who’s boss”.
The first thing you want to do is understand. Understand why your dog becomes so aggressive to other dogs. In the vast majority of cases it’s not aggression, nastiness, or bad temper - it’s plain, tail-wetting, fear. Once you’ve got to grips with the fact that you have a fearful dog - not a nasty one - life suddenly becomes so much easier!
Your anxious dog makes such a hullabaloo because he’s trying to keep the thing he fears away from him. Putting on an Oscar-winning display of ferocity and fury often does the trick.
We’re going to change things so that he will no longer have to shout and snarl to keep frightening things away from him.
You wouldn’t drop spiders in the lap of your spider-phobic aunt (unless you’re her twelve-year-old nephew, that is) so the first thing to do is to help your dog avoid the things of which he is afraid.
So what’s the first step?
Let your dog know
that he never has to meet another dog or person
again in his life.
You will always turn the other way and avoid it. But don’t think this means you’ll only be walking at the dead of night for the rest of your days. This is a first step, and one which will become a habit that will endure in your dog’s mind: “I’m safe with my person!”
After trying this one simple step this is what Sandy had to say: “The best tip for me was to help my fearful aggressive dog feel comfortable and safe.”
Mia found that: “What you wrote about walking on leash, meeting other dogs etc, made a lot of sense and using one of your suggestions has worked wonders for our walks - we both now enjoy them and he’s a lot less nervous! He can get a lot closer without being reactive.”
Sarah said: “I have enjoyed the e-course and found the advice helpful. My dog is becoming less fearful and more balanced.”
Would you like to join these happy campers?
Get my free e-course for Growly Dogs that Sarah mentions, where you’ll get step-by-step guidance through the basics. You can be taking your first lesson in just a couple of minutes!
If you’ve already been doing some research, and you like the look of Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) and Control Unleashed, you’re going to love this!
There’s so much you will learn to improve your relationship with your dog while you watch him grow in confidence.
Teach your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog to trust you - get our free email course here.
THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
And check out the new series of books to help Growly Dogs and their harassed owners.